I just finished playing Donut County. Here’s what I thought of it, my opinions about the game and the feelings it left me with.
Donut County – Final Thoughts
Donut County is a very cute, casual and relaxing game about controlling a hole to grab all of the items you can. Ben Esposito and Annapurna Interative call it a puzzle game, but I don’t think there’s all that much thinking needed to beat it.
The story follows a racoon called BK, who is in trouble for basically absorbing the entire town into his giant holes. He’s obsessed with getting a drone and considers anything that gets in the way of this an acceptable loss.
There’s a good group of characters who all chat in between stages, but I had a hard time keeping up with which was which. Some of this is because there’s no voice acting so it’s all text (not a bad thing by itself). But they all seemed to speak using very similar words and phrases, so unless you knew what subject they were talking about you’d struggle to work out who said what line.
I really enjoyed the basic mechanics. I like the Katamari games, and Donut County is definitely along a similar line. The more stuff you absorb, the bigger the hole gets. The bigger the hole gets, the more stuff will fit into the hole. There’s something quite appealing to my OCD nature about cleaning up an entire stage so there’s literally nothing left to absorb.
My biggest problem with Donut County is that the stages just felt too short. It’s all vignette style, where even if you’re not rushing you’ll finish each scene within a couple of minutes. The ratio of gameplay to dialogue-heavy cutscene is a bit too low. I spent more time going through the text between the levels than I ever did playing them.
There are a handful of times during the game that puzzles crop up. So you need to grab an item and take it somewhere, then spit it out again to trigger an event. The puzzles are usually pretty straightforward, but it breaks up the repetitive style of the game and forces you to use your brain a little.
My only disapointment with this is that they’re a bit too few and far between. They’re not difficult puzzles to solve, so I’d have liked either more of them or a higher difficulty. In an ideal world I’d also like a branching level, where not solving a puzzle either forced you to find another route or triggered a different event.
It’s Good, Though!
I get it. It’s a one-man product. I don’t want to go too hard on Ben Esposito here, because he’s made a very cute game with a lot of potential. It was never going to be a 40-hour epic (and TBH I wouldn’t want it to be anyway), but at only a couple of hours it could be a hard sell to some people. Hopefully if there’s a sequel, he’ll be able to make the levels that bit bigger and more expansive. And maybe a bit less text in the cutscenes.
I played Donut County on Switch, but it’s out on all platforms now.
Check out some of my other Final Thoughts here!